There are so many directions a discussion with Adam Edwards can go in.
Sitting with someone who possesses such an amazing pedigree like Adam Edwards III can almost be intimidating. It could cause one to do some self-inventory and realize that you just haven’t applied yourself well enough in certain areas of your own journey. For others, myself included, it awakens those parts of you that yearn for more than just the status quo. His is a tale of continued success that hasn’t been stagnated or pacified by simply reaching an athletic plateau.
He would rather use said plateau as a springboard to newer heights.
So a chance to borrow some of his time presents a dilemma. With so many layers to his success and personality, how does one go about the discussion? I don’t want to leave anything out. I don’t want to miss anything. Here’s what’s funny. Speaking to Mr. Edwards is almost like talking to an old classmate or friend. From the word go, I was treated to someone both open and honest, both poignant and intellectual and engaging.
He’s played football both in the NFL and internationally. He’s the owner of three B.S. degrees in health promotions, business management and criminal justice. As if that all isn’t enough, he worked his way up the ladder of several Fortune 500 companies and became a member of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) when his playing days were over.
Here’s some of the results of our discussion:
The 2011 lockout might, quite possibly, be the worst thing I can remember happening in my life over the last ten years. What steps are being taken to make sure nothing of that nature ever happens again?
The 2011 NFL lockout wasn’t beneficial for anyone. The fans were temporarily deprived of America’s favorite sport. Owners, sponsors, advertisers (to name a few) temporarily lost revenue and players were simply out of a job. Some players turned to predatory loans just to survive, which in some cases became a fiscally-detrimental choice and even landed a few lenders in prison. For players, the demand was in-line with other union-affiliated careers, but compromise must be a necessity to achieve an optimal outcome. In my humble opinion, steps to mitigate this from ever happening again have slowly begin to percolate, such as:
- The Concussion Lawsuit Settlement
- The creation of the Pro Football Retired Players Association
- *Long-term post career dental benefits for vested and non-vested players
- Good Faith Negotiation Doctrine
- More equitable profit sharing models per divisions
- Evolving concussion protocols
The average NFL fan knows that the NFLPA exists, but many have no idea what the NFLPA does. For the uninitiated, what is the role of the NFLPA and what does an average day look like?
The National Football League Players Association mission is to pay homage to their predecessors for their courage, sacrifice, and vision, on and off the field. Several attributes include:
- Represent all players in matters concerning wages, hours and working conditions and protects their rights as professional football players
- Assuring that the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement are met
- Negotiate and monitors retirement and insurance benefits
- Provide other member services and activities
- Provide assistance to charitable and community organizations
- Enhance and defend the image of players and their profession on and off the field
The aforementioned activities are key daily attributes of the NFLPA. Some affiliates attend OTA’s (Organized Team Activities), sports events and community activities, while others work vigorously on case studies, negotiations and vital benefits for current and former players they represent.
Safety, head injuries and concussion protocol have found their way to the top of the NFL’s priority list. Where are we now and would you allow your son to play in the current NFL?
With the recent concussion lawsuit settlement and formation of the Pro Football Retired Players Association, enormous progress has been made. Although, some of us take issue with the new targeting rule and its subjective nature, we respect that the rule protects defenseless players and hopefully lessons CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) cases to allow players the quality of life any retiree deserves, post-career. However, I would have some reservation of allowing my son (if I had one) to play the game I love.
Is there any truth to the rumors that there may be a proposal to change the substance abuse policy to include some recreational use of marijuana?
As for the rumors on allowing marijuana use, albeit recreational or medical, I’m not optimistic and see union rules remaining steadfast, just as they are in non-professional unions. Again, just my opinion.
How do you respond to the person that says professional athletes are overpaid and selfish? Shouldn’t we celebrate the fact these guys are making more money than they ever have?
If someone truly believes that all athletes are overpaid and selfish, that’s their individual opinion. However, the fact is there’s a small minority of NFL players that get guaranteed multi-million dollars contracts and endorsements, while the majority make league minimum or except a supporting role on practice squad or special teams. Not mention, most dread Tuesdays (team roster reduction days) for a large portion of their career.
The sacrifice to our bodies and minds, plus the risk of life-threatening injury is certainly a choice we make, but we do it also for our fans. Can anyone imagine life without football, even temporarily as it happened in 2011? For this, we certainly expect our fans to call us out when we make mistakes, but to also allow us to be human, while living life in the public eye and in some cases, dying to entertain our loyal fans. To most of us, this means much more than money.
In your opinion, why are so many of these guys going broke so quickly after their pro careers end? What advice would you give the younger crop of athletes coming into the league to ensure this doesn’t happen to them?
The trend of 60% of NFL players going broke, 1-5 years post career is very simple. Here’s an example:
- The league minimum ranges from $435,000 – $820,000.
- “Jock Taxes” are paid to every state a game is played in, making the effective tax rate almost 50%
- Most players purchase homes and real estate that cost 3 to 10 times the median home average
- They take out bad loans or make them to others
- They put too much trust in agents and advisors who violate the fiduciary oath to protect their players
This becomes the recipe of going broke without truly intending to do so. At iMatch Franchise and Global Investments, we work extensively with the NFL Player Engagements Business Academy to help mitigate this for current and former players, 1-5 years removed.
Our belief is that empowerment and education are keys to a successful transition. We strongly advise interested athletes to gain industry knowledge and conduct intense research before getting involved in any business. Finishing your college degree will open many doors that stretch beyond your athletic career. Find a mentor to provide coaching and advice about career paths or franchise opportunities. This positive outlook is essential to achieving life-goals beyond the GAME.
Personally, I can’t imagine the Chargers in Los Angeles or the Raiders in Vegas. Is having two teams in Los Angeles good for the league in your opinion?
Change in any case can be very difficult, slow and uncomfortable, but worth it long term. Does anyone remember the Baltimore Colts or the Cleveland Rams? The Chargers will do just fine in Los Angeles. The Raiders will do just fine in Las Vegas. Let’s face it, in my opinion, LA is the entertainment capital and has the infrastructure and fan fair to support two amazing franchises. The Raiders in Las Vegas is just as interesting. Get your popcorn ready!!!
For those who may be unaware, what is the Collective Bargaining Agreement and how does it work?
The Collective Bargaining Agreement contain provisions from the National Labor Relations Act, with amendments by and between the National Football League Management Council (NFLMC) and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). Its function is to maintain sole and exclusive bargaining representation for all professional players, both drafted and undrafted that are seeking employment by a member club of the National Football League.
I’ve always been curious. Why were the New Orleans Saints punished so harshly for “Bountygate”? Weren’t they, in essence, doing what the other 31 teams do?
When a spotlight shined brightly on “Bountygate” in 2012, it set the New Orleans Saints back a few years in my opinion. Sometimes, it’s not the act, it’s the denial or cover up that lends the harshest punishment. While I cannot confirm if other teams participate in such activities, I can confirm that every team has a rich and vested desire to win, so you be the judge.
Tell us about your other ventures: iMatch Franchise, Waters Edge Winery, Hospitality Lab Holdings.
iMatch Franchise and Global Investments is an award-winning, franchise and mergers and acquisitions consulting firm, with over 300 concepts under management. We’re also certified NFLPE (National Football League Player Engagement) advisors and locker room members of VIKTRE, the first interactive social media platform for Pro Athletes and Olympians. To learn more or for a free consultation, visit www.imatchfranchise.com or contact email@example.com.
Waters Edge Winery-OKC is an award-winning, family owned winery, offering hand-crafted wines with grapes from around the world. Our secret to success is that we’ve created a community within a community that makes every patron feel at home. We provide custom labels, special events and have partnered with over 30 retail package stores, hotels and restaurants to sell our brand. To book your next event or to simply stop in to “Sip and Socialize” or “Taste and Take”, visit www.wewokc.com or call (405) 232-WINE.
Hospitality Lab Holdings is a newly formed, seasoned restaurant group, with two European-style casual dining eateries (Osteria) launching in 2018. Unlike traditional restaurant models, our “incubator-style” concept will insure that we maximize a VIP experience for every patron. With local farming partnerships, to having an Italian-born Personality on board, Osteria will most certainly be a place where everyone knows your name! For an investor’s prospectus, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exposure Magazine Sports Editor
Geoffrey Knox is the creator and the owner of The Thunderstorm Hip Hop Sports & Entertainment Network, co-editor for Inside The Iggles and a contributor for Saturday Blitz. Bookmark Thunderstorm Media on BlogtalkRadio.com, iTunes, TuneIn and Stitcher. Follow him on Twitter @GQ_4_Eva, @stormradio66 @stormsports66 & @insideiggles.